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 Face Nord by  Cie Un loup pour l’homme
Circus
Work

2 min

Face Nord (“North Face”) by the company Un Loup pour l’Homme

In Face Nord the company Un Loup pour l’Homme depicts the countless connections which bind or oppose humans. The show offers an opportunity to discover these delicate, sensual fragile links which the art of partner acrobatics explores, sometimes right up to the breaking point.

© Christophe Raynaud de Lage
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Hand to hand

The Lille company Un Loup pour l’Homme was born in 2005 out of an encounter between two acrobats, French base Alexandre Fray and Quebec flyer Frédéric Arsenault. Together, they develop shows based on the practice of partner acrobatics, a discipline that unfolds on the ground, almost without apparatuses, constantly playing with balance, flight and acrobatics.

 

Beyond mere physical virtuosity, partner acrobatics, also known as hand-to-hand, truly functions as a language for the company. Created in 2011, Face Nord, the company's third project, then became a fully-blown theatrical show. Combining strength and grace, power and flexibility, it recounts, through its various tableaux, the struggles and also the emotional connections between men and women in everyday life. 

 

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Bodies which launch and fly

All the parts in Face Nord are played by four acrobats: two bases and two flyers. “To play” is the perfect term for this show rooted in children’s schoolyard scuffles, where physical confrontations as entertaining as they are tragic. 

 

Sparring and chivalrous gestures, harmonies of bodies which suddenly shift their weight from one to the other in combinations that teeter on the edge of balance and collapse, it all tells the story of the power of connections and their fragility.

 

The audience, surrounding the stage on four sides, is just a step away from the action. They are thus as closely involved as possible in the playful sensuality which the four acrobats of Face Nord distil, launching each other and flying through the air.   

 

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Men and women

Created in 2011 by four men (Frédéric Arsenault, Alexandre Fray, Mika Lafforgue and Sergi Parés), Face Nord was recreated in a second iteration in 2018, this time featuring four acrobatic women, two bases and two flyers (Sanna Kopra, Stina Kopra, Mira Leonard and Lotta Paavilainen).

 

By passing the show on to a team of women, the project engages its first work with bodies offering different imaginations and different nuances. How does this work, which evokes struggle, resistance and the athletic imagination, resonate when performed by female bodies? Reflecting the men's version which played with femininity, the feminine version seeks to express, through its jousting play, a certain masculinity. A way for the company Un Loup pour l’Homme to interact with contemporary questions of gender.

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A border-crossing theme

Face Nord has thus far been performed more than 250 times in Europe and North America. Music, hand to hand acrobatics, physical altercations, games and comedy, virtuosic feats of balance and acrobatic performance are all languages that require no translation.

 

The men's version of Face Nord continues its journey in 2019 across Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo and Romania. The women’s version will launch in 2020, first in France and then, starting the next year, internationally.

 

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The Institut français and the project

The company Un Loup pour l’Homme benefited from the support of the Institut français, the City of Lille, and the Hauts-de-France Region for the development of international artistic exchanges. Find out more about project assistance programmes in partnership with local authorities here.

 

The Face Nord show was presented at the Spring Festival in March 2019 as part of the Circus Focus in the Normandy region. Find out more about the Circus Focus in the Normandy region